Who is the real 1 percent?
By Eniko Jordan
Well, I’m writing this on May Day and I want you to know that I spent the day occupying, just as the Occupy Wall Street gang called on the nation to do.
Well, not quite. The Occupiers called on Americans to spend May Day not going to work, not going shopping, not going to school or to the bank, and to generally cause all sorts of disruption to our economy and society. Instead, I spent my May Day occupying two jobs to make ends meet. I confess I didn’t go to the bank or to the store, but only because I had done that the day before.
The Occupy Wall Street “movement,” in league with the labor unions, has come out of the woodwork to once again revile those who actually work to make a living and to demonize those who are successful. Unfortunately, with the advent of warmer weather, we are likely to see a return of those Occupy tents across the country.
This 99 percent and 1 percent idea is one of the silliest things I have ever heard. Why don’t they just go ahead and call it the Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie? At least that would be more honest.
But there have always been those who acquire more than others in any society; that is not the fault of capitalism. Think back over history and every civilization has had higher levels and lower levels; from the Egyptians to the European monarchies, to every society or mode of government you can think of, there are always those who fare better than others. I’m sure there were cavemen who had more roasted yak than their neighbors, but everyone was just too busy trying to survive to worry about it.
In fact, it’s our prosperity that has actually allowed some people to spend their time protesting instead of contributing to the economy and to the well being of society.
So this May Day we were all supposed to make a massive display of protesting and disrupting society instead on contributing to it. Now who does that hurt? By calling for massive disruption, the Occupiers and labor unions are in reality calling on 99-percenters to hurt other 99-percenters. They are asking people to make life more difficult for those that they claim to be trying to help.
Who are the real 1-percenters anyway? I think it’s the people who actually have time to go live in a tent in the park. Ninety-nine percent of the rest of us just don’t have the time for such nonsense. It seems to me that it is only 1 percent of people who can actually afford to skip a day’s work to respond to some existential protest. Or is the 1 percent made up of those who care so little about their education or their children’s education that they just skip a day of school to make a point? Ninety-nine percent of people have more brains than that, so they stayed in school filling those brains with important stuff instead of with worthless propaganda.
Speaking of propaganda, May Day was chosen as the time for the Occupiers protests because it is also International Workers Day, and a holiday for socialists and/or former and present communist governments. While we lived in Hungary, our friends and neighbors also celebrated May Day, but no longer as a celebration of Soviet ideals. It was just a nice spring day in the park. But they laughingly told us how May Day in a former Soviet socialist republic used to work.
They would be forced to show up at the May Day labor rallies or face losing their jobs for non-compliance. This is how the attendance of huge crowds of happy workers was assured for the newspapers and the cameras. After they showed up at the park or rally site, they would register with their employer or party representative. They would then receive a coupon for a free hot dog and a glass of beer.
Most of them stayed long enough to be counted and wave their limp fists in half-hearted support of the wonderful life that the party diligently assured them that they actually had. After they enjoyed their free hot dog and glass of beer they went home to be with their families or perhaps start prepping their gardens so they could have fresh veggies to eat in the months to come.
It didn’t take long for these unfortunate souls behind the USSR’s “Iron Curtain” to realize the promises they heard from socialism were empty, and that there was still a 1 percent, despite the assurances of shared wealth and equality from those in power. As is described in the book “Animal Farm,” some people are more equal than others. But even if it meant hard work and discipline, these folks quickly came to the conclusion that accepting responsibility for living a free life is better than getting free stuff and empty promises.
Unfortunately the real 1-percenters in the Occupy Movement haven’t figured that one out yet.
Eniko Jordan is a Pocatello resident and freelance writer for the Idaho State Journal.